Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet unveiled the first policy of his presidential campaign Monday, a plan to address climate change. He promised that not only would his plan fight the effects of global warming, but it would also boost the economy. His plan was announced just after a weekend spent campaigning in Iowa, touring farms and areas affected by extreme flooding that some have blamed on climate change.
"We need bold action and enduring solutions," Bennet said in a press release. "Our plan will drive economic growth for the 21st century and create millions of high-paying jobs."
The plan is broken into five "principles" which contain plans to fight climate change through a mix of individual and corporate incentives, government reforms, and executive actions. His proposal includes an implementation timeline, too, that would begin on his first day in office as president.
Last October, a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that the world has twelve years to reverse the effects of climate change. Working off that timeline, Bennet proposed multiple policies that would take effect on or by 2030, including a "Climate Challenge" to states to "compete for federal infrastructure funding" by addressing climate threats and reducing emissions. The senator also plans to commit to conserve 30 percent of American's lands and seas by 2030.
Bennet would also require power providers to provide zero-emission energy plans to businesses and households. His so-called "Climate X Option" would, Bennet believes, empower Americans to more easily adopt clean energy practices.
If elected, he also says he'd call a global climate summit of world leaders within the first 100 days of his presidency. And he's proposing the creation of a "Climate Bank," a trust that would hold $10 trillion to be used by the private sector for "innovation and infrastructure that creates new markets for American businesses not just at home, but also around the world."
Bennet said that to institute his policies, he will work with Congress. However, if Congress cannot come together, he would use executive actions to authorize the Clean Air Act and other climate statutes. "This crisis is too important for us to wait any longer," he said.
Other 2020 Democratic candidates have introduced policies after spending time in Iowa. An aide to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders previously told CBS News that his agriculture policy came out of discussions with Iowans. Earlier this month, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke amended his climate change policy after meeting with people impacted by historic flooding and holding climate change roundtables in Iowa, according to a campaign aide.
On a call with reporters, Bennet said that flooding in rural Iowa has waterlogged land, making it difficult for farmers to preserve topsoil. Several Democratic strategists and officials have told CBS News that policy proposals following campaign swings are key ways for candidates to show voters they're listening to concerns.